‘Star Wars’: 1 of these 5 directors could/should take over ‘Episode IX’ right now – USA TODAY
Disney’s teaser trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ picks up with Rey’s encounter with Luke.
Star Wars all of a sudden has a bigger mystery than Rey’s parentage: Who’s going to direct Episode IX?
The announcement came Tuesday that Disney’s Lucasfilm and director Colin Trevorrow parted ways over differing “visions” for the finale in the current trilogy (in theaters May 24, 2019). Which leaves a huge creative hole for Star Wars brass and a lot of speculation for a fan base that thrives on it.
Certain names can be ruled out: Steven Spielberg said as recently as last year that he’s not directing a Star Wars film, though the Internet would completely break if that happened. But for your consideration — and Lucasfilm folks, too, if they’re listening — here are five filmmakers who’d fit the Episode IX gig.
Guillermo del Toro
No one’s got more geek cred, and the Mexican director is no stranger to franchise vehicles, having helmed two Hellboy movies and almost directed The Hobbit. He’s a Star Wars fan, has a penchant for sumptuous visuals (see: Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak) and is potentially an Oscar contender with his new film The Shape of Water (now making the film festival rounds). That probably wouldn’t hurt his chances.
If Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy finally decides to hire a woman to direct Star Wars, she’s loaded with options: a TV director like Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones), a surprise pick such as Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler) or perhaps the hottest director in Hollywood, Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). DuVernay, though, would be the likeliest candidate: The Selma director is in post-production on the Disney fantasy A Wrinkle in Time (out March 9), which could be her audition. Not that she needs one after getting the official J.J. Abrams seal of approval.
Although Han Solo often said, “Never tell me the odds,” we’re going to. Chances are probably good that if the director of the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dec. 15) wanted to just ease right into the next film, Lucasfilm would let him. Either he or The Force Awakens’ Abrams could return to finish this part of the saga, though Johnson tweeted in July that he would do another Star Wars movie “in a heartbeat. I’ve had the time of my life.” He’s got Force fever, folks.
When Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the untitled young Han Solo film in June, they were quickly replaced by Hollywood veteran Ron Howard. Episode IX could take a similar tack with Kasdan. Maybe not the sexiest pick, but if Lucasfilm wants to bring the trilogy in for a safe landing, he’s the guy. Having co-written four Star Wars movies (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens and Han Solo), Kasdan is a longtime stalwart in the galaxy far, far away and is as close to the material as anyone other than George Lucas himself.
Doing a Star Wars movie would have to be a bucket-list gig for a guy who grew up reading sci-fi, and Villeneuve is the go-to director of late in the genre. The filmmaker’s 2016 movie Arrival is one of very few sci-fi projects ever to get a best-picture nomination, and his status is about to go up again with the much-anticipated Blade Runner 2049 (Oct. 6). He’s signed to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune, but would he turn down Star Wars if offered? The call of lightsabers and starships might be too great.